Harissa beetroot houmous

This houmous is vibrant, fresh and versatile enough to be used as a side dish with middle-Eastern flavours or as a traditional dip with carrots. I like to be heavy handed with the harissa but this recipe can be adapted to suit your tastes. Likewise for the beetroot. It adds an earthy sweetness to the flavour but can be omitted entirely or substituted for cooked carrot if you prefer.

Serves 4

2 raw golden or red beetroots (you can also use the vac-packed variety, I just had uncooked beetroot to hand)

1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

small bunch of coriander

3 teaspoons harissa paste (you can buy this in most supermarkets and delis, Waitrose also have a rose variety which could be interesting to try).

1 garlic clove

juice of half a lemon

salt

olive oil

First, wash and trim the beetroot stalks and then boil until tender (roughly 30 mins). Rinse under cold water and once cool, remove their skin. Roughly cube the beetroot and add to your food processor. I use a Kenwood food processor but any blender/smoothie maker should do the job.

Throw in the chickpeas, coriander, harissa, garlic and lemon juice and blitz. The mixture will quickly become stiff so here’s when you need to start adding the oil. On a slow setting, gradually introduce the oil to the mix. You should be able to identify when your houmous gets to the right consistency as the blender will be turning more easily. If you like a chunkier houmous, blend for less time and vice versa, if you like your houmous to be silky smooth, make sure the mixture is well blended.

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This recipe isn’t for the oil-shy. If you want to cut the oil content down you can absolutely make a low-fat version using natural yoghurt and water. Again, quantities will depend on the texture that you’d like to achieve. Mix the yoghurt with a small amount of water and start to add to the mix as it churns. You’ll be able to identify when you’ve added enough by the texture. You can also add a little oil for richness if you’d like.

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I like to finish this recipe with some freshly chopped coriander, a drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt flakes. Then simply toast some pitta, prepare some carrots sticks and devour.

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